By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 15 August 2021
The political leader of the Tibetans-in-exile Sikyong Penpa Tsering hoisted the Indian flag as the national anthem was played at the Tibetan Secretariat (Kashag) courtyard, with top officials of the exile administration in attendance.
“I congratulate the people and the government of India on the 75th Indian independence day. India fought for more than 200 years against the British colonial rule,” Tsering said.
India attained independence on 15 August 1947 following a long independence movement noted for largely non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan.
The partition was accompanied by violent riots and huge loss of life, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people along religious lines.
Tsering said that comparatively, the Tibetan struggle is only 70 years old, but it could be a long fight for hundreds of years. “Tibetans should all come together and be prepared to fight for a free Tibet even if the fight is for a long time.”
“Gandhi showed the path of non-violence as the main weapon in India’s freedom struggle, and India became independent from British rule. This inspired the world to follow in his footsteps,” Tsering said.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama, following the path of Gandhi, has led the Tibetan people to follow the path of non-violence. Tibetans in Tibet, despite their suffering, do not inflict violence on Chinese. They would rather kill themselves by various means, but do not harm the Chinese perpetrators.”
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi greeted the people, tweeting, “Wishing you all a very Happy 75th Independence Day. May this year of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ infuse new energy among the people of the country. Jai Hind!”
Modi hoisted the national flag and delivered the customary address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi. Modi announced a Rs 100 lakh-crore project for developing ‘holistic infrastructure’ which will create employment opportunities for the country’s youth in the future.
For the second year in a row, the Independence Day celebrations remained muted as the country braces for a possible third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Greetings have poured in from around the world wishing India on its 75th Independence Day.
US President Joe Biden extended wishes to India saying that New Delhi and Washington must show the world that the “two great and diverse democracies” can deliver for people everywhere.
Russian President Vladimir Putin extending his warm greetings said that further enhancement of Russian-Indian ties was in the interests of both nations.